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Mixed reaction to Knowle Waitrose plan

WORK on Knowle’s new Waitrose store will hopefully start in spring and be open for business by summer 2014.

WORK on Knowle’s new Waitrose store will hopefully start in spring and be open for business by summer 2014.

That’s the latest from Kimberley Developments, who - as reported in last week’s Solihull News - have won approval for the village supermarket.

The store, first debated in 2010, will be built on a former bowling green near The Red Lion pub. Five nearby bungalows will be relocated to make way for a car park.

Reaction to last Wednesday’s decision by planning chiefs has been mixed, with opponents warning of overcrowding and a threat to smaller shops.

Michael Moorhouse, chairman of the Knowle Village Hall Association, feared the future of the village venue could be threatened by a lack of car parking.

The 50-year-old building is used by a string of local clubs and societies and as a local polling station - with the only source of income derived from the hiring out of facilities.

“We would lose these and other bookings if the local car parking restrictions are made too onerous,” said Mr Moorhouse, of Chantry Heath Crescent.

“Inevitably that would lead to the demise of the village hall, with the loss of a well-used and loved venue for many local groups.

“As a committee we are not against progress and indeed welcome such a quality rival to Tesco but it would be tragic if this development and specifically the proposed car parking restrictions were to lead to the inevitable exodus of hirers and the closure of our hall.”

Dr Jennifer Hagon, of the Arden Medical Centre, was among those to speak against the scheme at the planning meeting.

The Station Road resident warned that providing a 47-space car park at Lodge Croft would create a space for youths to gather to drink, smoke and take drugs.

Leighton Jones, from conservation group the Knowle Society, said: “The decision has been made and we must now work to minimise disruption and tackle the parking issue - which is probably the remaining big concern.”

 

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